Psoriasis is a long-term, chronic skin disease that currently has no cure. Medical science has not yet determined the true cause of the illness, but it’s believed to be an immune system condition that develops when our cells attack healthy skin by mistake.
Psoriasis has no cure, but you can manage the condition well enough to prevent complications and enjoy a relatively good quality of life.
Technology has spurred the invention of devices to enable faster psoriasis diagnosis, better treatment and management, and improved patient results.
Smart symptom trackers and medication management tools enable you to administer your treatment at home and stay on top of your condition.
Research shows more than 7.5 million U.S. adults have psoriasis, while Norway has the highest disease prevalence at 1.98 percent of its total population. Mobile applications, tele dermatology, and artificial intelligence (AI) are among the technologies used to make life easier for people with psoriasis.
Using technology in psoriasis patient care
Modern advances in big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) combine with almost-universal internet connectivity to identify new ways to fight psoriasis. The use of AI in dermatology shows much promise in differentiating between images of benign and malignant lesions based on individual image pixels.
Machine learning models trained with multiple data sets can sometimes distinguish between the types of lesions more accurately than dermatologists. These developments have spurred several new devices that are helping to enable faster psoriasis diagnosis, better disease treatment and management, and improved quality of life for patients.
Most health tech devices for psoriasis patients typically fall into the categories of symptom trackers, diagnostic, or treatment tools. Here are a few examples of each type.
Psoriasis symptom trackers and tools
Various symptom trackers and tools are available to help you manage your condition. The Psoriasis Monitor app provides a simple interface for tracking your flare-ups, their severity, duration, and triggers. It also delivers detailed reporting and allows you to connect to your care team so they can follow your progress between visits.
Care Clinic’s psoriasis symptom tracker incorporates a psoriasis journal to help you manage the symptoms of the disease. Users can set fitness goals and therapy reminders and convert the data into a health record to bring to the next medical appointment. The reporting function shows how well you are doing with your current treatment plan.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is one of the complications patients could experience. For individuals living with any form of arthritis, The Arthritis Foundation developed the TRACK + REACT application specifically for tracking symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. The app, which is available for both iPhone and Android, also produces charts to share with your doctor, making communication about your condition easier.
Another app, Flaredown, helps to identify what triggers your PsA flare-ups. It allows you to track your symptoms, manage your mental health, activities, medications, and diet, and keep tabs on weather conditions that could affect you.
Technological psoriasis treatment options
Psoriasis takes several forms, most of which cause a rash with itchy, rough areas, usually on the knees, elbows, upper body, and scalp. The lesions can be painful, interfere with your sleep, and make it hard to concentrate. Stable, long-term management of your psoriasis is essential to achieve a reasonable quality of life. Without effective treatment, patients risk developing complications. This is where technology is coming into its own, with the development of several treatment technologies to help you control your condition.
Light therapy with a smartphone app
The UV lamp is probably the most well-known health tech device for psoriasis patients. Sunlight produces narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) light, which infiltrates your skin and slows down the increase of skin cells for psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, this light reduces psoriasis more rapidly and delivers more prolonged remissions than broadband UVB.
The Zerigo Health Solution is a hand-held device that delivers the dose of NB-UVB light prescribed for a patient at the press of a button. You can administer your treatment at home, and the device connects wirelessly to your medical provider to ensure ongoing monitoring and valuable data collection.
Medication adherence tools
Multiple smart tools are available to help facilitate the use of psoriasis medications. You can take advantage of pre-prepared medication to ensure accurate dosages and usage from pre-filled syringes, autoinjectors, and smart dispensers. Many smart apps and wearable devices provide real-time alerts to remind you to take medication or to apply topical treatments or light therapy. If you forget to take a dose of medication, the dispenser connected to your smartphone app can notify your provider if they subscribe to remote patient monitoring services.
Ways to improve diagnostic accuracy
While a psoriasis diagnosis can be devastating, patients usually learn to manage their condition. Effective treatment relies heavily on getting the form of psoriasis diagnosed accurately. Types of psoriasis include guttate, nail, pustular, plaque, inverse, and erythrodermic disease. Patients can have several of these forms simultaneously, and the conditions can appear, disappear, or vary in severity without warning or explanation.
The use of imaging and AI-driven smartphone apps has been shown to vastly improve diagnostic capabilities by analyzing clinical images and recognizing psoriasis lesions with 89.46% accuracy. Physicians usually manage these tools, which are particularly beneficial in remote and resource-limited healthcare settings where patients can’t always get to a medical center for attention.
Ongoing management of psoriasis
Psoriasis patients must also guard against symptoms that commonly accompany immune system conditions. These include low self-esteem, stress, depression, fluctuating blood pressure, and weight loss or gain. Useful health tech devices for the ongoing management of your psoriasis include:
Blood pressure monitoring devices, such as the OMRON Gold Wireless Bluetooth Upper Arm home dual-display monitor. This device stores up to 120 readings for two users. It syncs with the OMRON Connect app on an iOS or Android device and alerts you to irregular heartbeats while measuring your blood pressure.
Telehealth apps enable you to connect securely to a provider if you need support. For example, Dermatologist on Call is an easy-to-navigate online service available in all 50 states. The site charges a flat fee per visit doesn’t require an appointment and is a fast, simple way to get advice from a qualified physician.
Obesity and psoriasis have strong links to each other. Being overweight is a risk factor for psoriasis, and having psoriasis can cause weight gain. Weight management tools such as Found and Medi-Weightloss SPW provide physician-directed ways to manage your risk of obesity.
Psychological and mental health support apps such as Talkspace and BetterHelp provide access to mental health professionals.
To effectively manage your illness, it’s vital to address potential issues regularly to prevent them from causing complications.
Living with psoriasis
With no immediate indication that a cure is on the horizon, psoriasis patients have little choice but to learn to live with their condition. Ongoing technological discoveries and evolution make this increasingly attainable by providing real-life support and assistance. Whatever type of psoriasis you have and regardless of its severity, there’s likely to be some form of technology that can help you to live with it more comfortably.